SPEECH OF THE ECWA PRESIDENT, REV. STEPHEN PANYA BABA DURING THE ECWA TELEVISION ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY 2019 DINNER, AWARDS AND SUPPORT NIGHT HELD AT THE ECWA INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTER, JOS ON SATURDAY, JULY 13TH, 2019.
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin . . .” (Zech 4:10 NLT).
On behalf of the ECWA Executive, I welcome you all from far and near to this auspicious occasion of the ECWA Television One Year Anniversary 2019 Dinner, Awards and Support Night. I am grateful to God for granting all of you safe trips from your various destinations. We count it a great privilege that in spite of your tight schedules, you honored our invitations to be here. Your presence alone demonstrates to us the importance you attach to this occasion in particular and the ECWA TV and ministry in general. We remain very grateful.
To the chairman and members of the planning committee of this great occasion, I thank you all for a job well done.
Going Down Memory Lane
In a gathering such as this, I can’t, but recollect how it all started.
I remember that during one of the ECWA Annual Retreat of Heads of Departments with the Executive, some ideas were mooted as regards ECWA having a television ministry. However, I think that the idea was not right at that point in time because not much attention was given to it. Nevertheless, the idea kept reoccurring.
When the immediate past ECWA President, Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Gado came on board, the idea surfaced again. This time around, Rev. Gado took it very seriously and embraced it and made sure that he set the ball rolling in terms of getting proposals and setting up a committee for the ECWA T.V ministry. No wonder the scripture says: “For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it may tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” (Hab 2:3 Webster).
Explaining the reason why he took the idea of ECWA TV ministry seriously, Dr. Gado said that it was in line with his regime’s Four Point Agenda of:
- Connecting ECWA to God
- Connecting ECWA to ECWA
- Connecting ECWA to the World and
- Mobilizing Resources for the advancement of the gospel through Evangelism and Missions and the Kingdom’s work generally through ECWA.
Therefore, ECWA TV fell within the third and four points of the agenda and that is connecting ECWA to the world and mobilizing resources for Evangelism and Missions. The TV was to help connecting ECWA to the world and also serve as a major means of mobilizing spiritual, physical and material/financial resources for the advancement of the gospel and the Kingdom’s work.
The Underground Work for the Establishment of ECWA TV
A committee for the ECWA Television Ministry was established by the then ECWA Executive. The committee was charged with the responsibility of developing and implementing the vision. It was inaugurated on the 9th of March, 2015. The committee was comprised of the following personalities:
- Joshua Hassan – Chairman
- Segun Oyekunle – Member
- Zachariah Ali – Member
- Zachariah Chinne – Member
- Vincent Dogo – Member
- Gbenga Arulegba – Member
- Rose Amos – Member
- Shekwolo Ishaku M.D. – Member
- Adamu Chidawa – Member
- My humble self served as the Committee Secretary and ECWA TV Coordinator.
Jimmy Atteh who was one of the Committee Members passed on to glory in 2015 without being able to attend a single meeting while Gbenga Aulegba was unavailable for the assignment. Engr. Tony Nakale, the current General Manager of the ECWA TV ministry was appointed the Consultant.
As the then ECWA TV Coordinator, I was primarily responsible for midwifing the whole process of birthing ECWA TV into existence and by the grace of God, ECWA TV was successfully born!
Objectives of the ECWA TV
The objectives of the ECWA TV are as follows:
- Glorifying God our Father, exalting Jesus our Lord and magnifying the Mighty Holy Spirit in all the earth
- Preaching the gospel and promoting the evangelical ministry of the church through cable Television and Radio for salvation of souls
- Building up the spiritual life of believers (Children, youth and Adults) and equipping the saints for the mission works of service
- Promoting revival that would result in genuine, lasting transformation of lives in ECWA in particular and the Christendom in general
- Promotion of Christian values of hard work, patience, perseverance, integrity, creativity, decency in dressing among others in the society, especially among youth and children, the future leaders of tomorrow
- Development and broadcasting of Christian programs that will educate, enlighten and inspire viewers and listeners on various aspects of life and ministry including education, health, entrepreneurship and leadership among both clergy and laity
- Promotion and facilitation of Christian music, dramas, films and other forms of ministry that would positively impact on the morality of viewers as an alternative to the pervasive morally corrupting influence of worldly entertainment industry and
- Provision of news and an in-depth analytical discussion of currents affairs from a very sound Christological and Eschatological Christian perspective.
ECWA TV’s Giant Strides
Seeing what God has used ECWA to do through its TV arm of the ministry within this short one year period, I can boldly and happily say like Samuel, “Ebenezer, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us!” (1 Sam 7:12 KJV).
The greatest impact we have made through ECWA T.V is that once more, the ministry of ECWA is no longer limited to ECWA’s local church activities, not even through EMS (Evangelical Mission Society) as a much wider reach, but now through the television we have been able to reach out to many more countries. So the greatest achievement of the ECWA TV is the whole purpose of connecting and exposing ECWA to the entire world.
One of the strongest points of ECWA being an evangelical church and of course, like the full name states i.e., ‘Winning All’ for Christ is TV broadcasting, especially the preaching of salvation messages. Through ECWA T.V., such messages are being preached to a very wide audience. During this one year period, we have had so many testimonies of people who are spiritually impacted as a result of the messages. So many of these people want to see ECWA churches being planted within their reach so they can be encouraged to grow in faith with the pure word of the Lord that they hear on ECWA T.V.
It is for the reasons of these wonderful testimonies and many more that we are here tonight to return thanks unto our God without whom ECWA TV ministry would not have come this far.
We greatly appreciate the Board, Management and Staff of the ECWA TV for their hard work, diligence, prudence, dedication and sacrifice which have made the ministry to be what it is today. Right from its inception up till this moment, were it not due to the judicious use of the lean resources that were at the disposal of the ministry, the dream of the TV would have just remained a mere dream. Equally, we appreciate all those whom God has greatly used over this one year to support and or partner with the TV ministry.
An Appeal for Patronage
ECWA Television is a very effective and powerful tool that Pastors, Members and other sister churches should take advantage of to reach out to the larger populace through various sponsored programs especially for preaching. We continue to receive many testimonies of how God is using ECWA TV to touch many lives.
Congratulations to the Award Recipients
Let me seize this opportunity to congratulate all those who have been singled out to receive ECWA TV’s Awards tonight. In the strictest sense of the word, these Awards are not really rewards. ECWA cannot reward you enough for all that God has used you to do through her television ministry. The Awards are just tokens of appreciations. But most importantly, these Awards should serve as catalyst to spur you into doing more for God through the ministry and other avenues.
Whether you are a recipient of the Award of Excellence for Supporting Missions and Humanity or your own Award falls into the Ambassadorial category, i.e., those who would represent the ECWA TV at their various levels and cadres, you are all Ambassadors of Jesus Christ.
A Word to the Rest of Us
For those of you who might feel that they are qualified to receive an Award but have not been so recognized, I render an apology to you on behalf of the ECWA TV. Even if no one sees and recognizes whatever contributions you have been making; God, who is the greatest rewarder of every good deed will not withhold any good gift from you. Probably, God’s appointed time for yours is on the way. I plead with you to exercise patience. It is often said that he who laughs last, laughs best.
I therefore, charge all of you who are seated here tonight that wherever you might have found yourselves, be Ambassadors of Jesus Christ most especially through the ministry of ECWA TV in one way or the other.
Please Pray for ECWA TV
If we must succeed as a TV station and Ministry, we must pray, pray and pray the more. We must never forget the kind of Godly heritage that we have because we are just building on the foundation that was laid for us by our founding fathers beginning with Mrs. Gowans, the Canadian Godly woman who was burdened with the plight of the over 60 million people in the Sudan. She prayed for the Lord to send laborers into the vast harvest field of the Sudan. Her own son, Walter Gowans answered the call together with Thomas Kent and Rowland Bingham. They were the people who gave themselves to prayer and came over here as SIM (‘Sudan Interior Mission’, which was later changed to ‘Serving In Mission’) Missionaries. No wonder, the motto of SIM has been ‘SIM by Prayer.’
I wish to specially thank all the distinguished guests who have honored our invitation once again.
In particular, to thank His Excellency Barr. Simon Bako Lalong, the Executive Governor of Plateau State, for being a very good host and an ECWA friendly Governor in terms of your appointment of ECWA Sons and Daughters to strategic positions in your cabinet. You also made the welfare of civil servants your top priority especially as regards prompt salary and pension payments. Additionally, you have supported the cause of the gospel and ECWA’s operations in ways too numerous to mention and for this, we remain extremely grateful. We look forward to a more fruitful partnership in your second tenure as we continue to pray for the Lord’s guidance, leading and blessings upon your government. The Lord be with you and bless you in Jesus name.
I also specially thank His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Taraba State, Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku. Apart from your commitment to the cause of the gospel and the support of ECWA TV and ECWA generally, we are particularly glad that you have firmly stood for your people even in the midst of intimidations, danger and threats to your life. You are a true shepherd, not a hireling. Jesus said: “. . . The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.” (John 10:11-13 NIV).
We thank God that Your Excellency has a lion heart and stand firm for your people, our people; like the Biblical Moses, who chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward (Hebrews 11:25-28). Napoleon, that great General of old was quoted to have said, “I am never afraid of Lions that are led by a sheep; but I am afraid of sheep that are led by a Lion”. Keep leading your people ‘Great Lion’ and God be with you and bless you real good in Jesus name!
As we savor the meal that will be served us in just a moment, I say, ‘bon appetit!’ And I pray that at the end of this program, the same God that brought you here safely will equally grant you safe trips back to your various destinations in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Thank you and God bless you all in Jesus’ name, Amen.